OGDEN — Sunday, hundreds of Rotary International members gathered to listen to faith leaders talk of the unifying power of the world's major religions.
Sunday was the third of a three-day conference hosted by Utah members of the Rotary International to discuss peacemaking. Harvard-educated author and International Center for Religion and Diplomacy founder Dr. Douglas Johnston was the keynote speaker. He talked about his sometimes dangerous work to change perceptions of the west in the madrasas — schools in the Middle East.
"Dealing with the ideas behind the guns, that is the way to drain the swamp of extremism," Johnston said. "You win their hearts and minds, they win the hearts and minds of others. That way you get through. It's hard work. It's also somewhat dangerous work, but we've been blessed."
Johnston's message of educating to bring about peace rang true with other leaders.
"Bringing peace to the world, at least in my opinion, relies on one core aspect and that's education," Ahmad Salah, Muslim student leader at Brigham Young University.
They ended their meetings with the idea of using the power of faith to build families and communities through an interfaith service.
"Focusing on some of the shared teachings that you find among the various faiths that help bring out the best in people to help them to find good lives and be strong community members," interfaith service organizer Jana Scott said.